The sleek straight walls of our arcology
Penetrated by organic rot.
A flower brought in, unseen,
On the sole of a shoe or in a guilty heart.
Our antiseptic citadel protected us
From burning seas and mistakes long made.
We sustained ourselves with sterile survival
While the world outside decayed.
An expedition to the wild outside
And some failure of our defences
Brought in our first fresh flower
And long buried consequences.
Stems and springs sprouted
From burnished glass walkways.
Escalators and elevators grew silent,
their gears all clogged with grass.
Attempts to decontaminate and control
Only spread unsettled seeds.
Vines clung about our structures
and ruptured slowly from our skin.
The first few people tried
To rip or tear these new appendages.
The fungal tongues growing from their chests and
The poison ivy tangled in their hair.
But they only grew back stronger
Until all resistance stopped.
The sinews coiled around our community
Tendrils spreading one-by-one.
Soil dripping from vacant eyes
As they forgot their dull humanity.
They shuffle around the corridors,
Overtaken by new life.
Bursts of red and green and yellow
pulsating from walls and floors and mouths.
Their minds are gone, but some life remains.
Rebirthed in the barren womb of our last redoubt.
I watch and wait for the dirt to take me.
The last, but not alone.
Butterflies and insects
Spring from living, moving bone.
Tangled metal flowers
Grow around me in this room.
I feel the fear of death abandon me.
I know the world will be here soon.
Danny Shaw is a conflict researcher based in Scotland, but in his fiction he prefers horror to war. He loves horror with existential and political themes, like Thomas Ligotti, Brian Evanson and Hailey Piper. You can find his short stories and poems @WeirdAndFearty and his political work @DanielOdinShaw on Twitter.